Just Who Would You Let In Your Front Door?

In these days of locked doors, we don’t let just anyone in the house. Wasn’t always this way, but that’s another story. Yet for all our care and cunning about safety, we let in a legion of strangers every night.

We welcome them in all their Hi-Def glory. We, comfortably situated with drink in hand and slippers on feet; they, energetically roaring through car chases and bedroom sheets. Who are these strangers? Our televised traveling companions along that brief way from our world-of-work soon now into our world-of-dreams.

In selecting these companions, are we not giving expression to a subconscious galaxy of dreams and fears, heroes and villains? This WHO question is easy to answer. Not so the followup WHY question. Why these particular characters? It’s a little like taking your own Rorschach Test. Try it.

Fifty years ago, in a somewhat safer if not more repressed time, the cast of characters in our living rooms was generally made of softer stuff: Happy Days…Marcus Welby MD…Leave It To Beaver. Today’s counterparts: Jersey Shore…House…The Housewives of New Jersey. A few years back, we howled at Allan Funt’s Candid Camera catching people off guard in silly moments. Today’s cameras catch people off guard in their bedrooms, bathrooms, back seats of Taxi cabs.

Times change and all television can do is mirror its times. Happily. sometimes those mirrors have turned into headlights. Helping lead the way to new and more refreshing social values. Pacesetters come to mind like the Bill Cosby Show …Will and Grace…Modern Family.

Like any Rorschach Test, there are no correct answers. You and I invite in whoever pleases our eyes and sates our interest. Still, that nightly guest list of subconscious preferences may warrant some conscious scanning. Look at it this way. If our newest definition of “reality” has shrunk into the size of The Biggest Loser, Shark Tank, Undercover Boss, America’s Next Top Model, and the eternal re-runs of the Jerry Springer Show….

…well, I rest my case. And next proceed to double-lock that front door.

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  • With fragmentation into 800 channels, what's basically going on here is that if there is enough viewership to get some fool to sign a release for minimum pay, that's enough for a TV show. Jerry isn't doing so well if he was pushed from 11 to 32 to 50 to 26.2.

    Also, this may indicate that the audience now has ADD. I'd say about 25 years ago, my nephew couldn't sit through "Leave it to Beaver." I said "that's a kids show," but my mother said, "it isn't in color."

    For the old school, there are still 9.2, 26.3 and 26.4. Even though I know where it is going, Jack Benny is still funny. Gracie Allen is a bit too scatterbrained for me.

  • I suppose this puts me somewhat in the "old school." But hell I'm 81. That's probably where I happily belong...

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